This is therefore a work not of academic scholarship, but of persuasion. It starts from the proposition that a world integrated through the [economic] market should be highly beneficial .... The market us the most powerful institution for raising living standards ever invented .... I am arguing for a better understanding by states of their long-run interest in a co-operative global economic order. Justifying these propositions is the kernel of this book. (Wolf, Preface, Why Globalization Works)
As Wolf says in his Preface to this book, the "ruin of the first liberal order led to thirty years of catastrophe." This is a pivotal point for Wolf. What was the liberal order and how was it ruined? Wolf explains earlier that the first liberal order was prevalent in the 1800s during what we call the Industrial Revolution, an era particularly evident in the United States with the Robber Barons of steel and railroad industries among others and typified in the United Kingdom by coal mining and steel works in areas like Wales. Wolf explains further that this first liberal order was "collapsed" in "the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries [late 1800s and early 1900s]" by the "assault" of the "collective" ideologies, as Wolf lists them, of "imperialism, militarism, socialism, communism and, finally, fascism." It was during this economic phase of "collapse" that labor unions first made headway in organizing labor and prompting governmental regulation of labor utilization.
With this as the undergirding presupposition of Wolf's economic philosophy, he identifies the overview of his book as being an attempt to persuade the reader of the singular importance of capitalism and global capitalism to (1) establishing world order, (2) to raising living standards, (3) to extending opportunity to the whole world. Wolf's underlying motivation is that "disorder could again engulf the world" if we allow this second "golden opportunity"--this chance at a second liberal order, now on a world-wide scale--to founder and if we fail to "recreate a better international world order."
Now we all ... know better. The ideas which undermined faith in the liberal order were wrong. Socialism does not work. ... Imperialism is a blind alley. Militarism and nationalism destroyed European civilization. Now we have ... recreated a better liberal international order--one that extends opportunities to the world as a whole.